Quinton Anderson got the first laptop. Was the first to shake the governor’s hand.
For his classmates, Quinton represents what the tornado took that Sunday night and how they’ve fought to come out stronger. The teen huddled in the hallway of his family’s one-story home three blocks from St. John’s hospital when the tornado hit. His parents, Sarah and William Anderson, were with him. Quinton’s last memory is something hard hitting his back.
He woke up in a Springfield hospital with a fractured skull, a shattered bone near his eye and his last three vertebrae shattered. Later, he would get a fungal infection in both legs.
A few days after the tornado, once his sister Grace found him, she told him they’d lost Mom and Dad. Their mother was the school secretary.
Alone at night in his hospital room, he would cry. But he never turned angry or resentful.
“I never thought, ‘Why me?’ ” Quinton said.
The way he sees it, his strong attitude is why he’s going to class this first day of school. In rehab, he pushed himself. Just as he used to for football, where he was a wide receiver. Even in the off season, he would work out and run every day.
In the hospital those 5½ weeks, he learned to walk again. Now you can hardly tell he has implants in his spine or skin grafts on both legs.
He can’t play football this year, but his teammates voted him one of the captains. He stands on the sidelines during practice, wearing his No. 6 Eagles jersey.
“There’s only one way to go in life and that’s forward,” he said. “If you don’t go forward, you’re just going to keep falling down again and again. …”
“My parents wouldn’t want that for me.”
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Quinton Anderson: first JHS student to receive laptop, first to shake governor's hand
Quinton Anderson, who lost both of his parents in the May 22 Joplin Tornado, was the first Joplin High School student to receive a laptop today. His story was told in the Kansas City Star: